Amidst incidents of communal clashes and controversies over Azaan and use of loudspeakers, reports of a Buddhist ashram in Bangalore, a Hindu temple in Gujarat and several Hindu brethren in different parts of the country inviting Muslims for breaking their fast (Iftar) in their premises during the holy month of Ramadan show that humanity is still alive and thriving.
The Buddhist brothers invited Muslims in one of their biggest temples in Bangalore. Muslims were served Iftar in their Ashram and were asked to call Azaan in the temple. After the Azaan congregational prayer was offered in the temple, a report said on April 22. Buddhist monks were keen to know what Muslims practise in their mosques. The Qur’ān was also recited on the occasion. The Buddhist Pandit expressed his happiness over the conduct of this beautiful event.
As per the Indian Express (April 9), the Varanda Vir Maharaj Mandir located in the Dalvana district of Gujarat on April 8 opened its doors to Muslims for them to offer Maghrib Namaaz and also to break their fast. About 100 Muslim residents of the Banaskantha village were invited to the 1,200-year-old temple. “The temple has been open to Muslims for the first time in its history,” the temple’s priest Pankaj Thakar said.
Another report of The Indian Express (April 26) said that Muslims from villages around Sachin village in Gujarat broke their fast on April 24 at an Iftar hosted by youths from the Vansiya (Rajput) community who have been their neighbours for several years. Around 50 Muslims, including social workers, farmers and Sarpanchs of neighbouring Kaphleta and Lajpore villages, attended the event.
This was the first time an Iftar party was organised by the Rajput community in Sachin for Muslims from the neighbouring villages. The Rajput women cooked bataka puri, bhajiyas and kadhi chawal, which were served to the guests at the Iftar held on an open plot in the village. The males prepared the tables with dates and soft drinks.
On April 27, reports from Mangaluru said that a groom Chandrasekhar Jeddu organised an Iftar for his Muslim friends in the local mosque as they would not be able to feast at his wedding because they were fasting. The groom hails from Byrikatte in Bantwal taluk. The Times of India quoted Chandrasekhar as saying, “In this village, Hindus, Christians and Muslims have lived cordially for many years. I was feeling miserable that my Muslim friends could not attend my wedding. So I spoke to a few of them and came up with a plan to organise an Iftar for all at the local mosque in Byrikatte. The mosque heads were more than happy.”
He further informed that more than 100 Muslim friends, 30 Hindu friends and 4 Christian friends had Iftar on April 25.
However, these efforts at communal harmony did not bode well for the hatemongers. A report on April 28 said that a group of students associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested against an Iftar organised at the BHU’s Mahila Mahavidyalay (MMV) on April 27. They also torched an effigy of BHU vice-chancellor Sudhir K Jain, who participated in the Iftar party with several officials of the university.